Eight Tips for making your will if you have a relative with a disability

  1. Complete the Will Planning Worksheet from Safe and Secure: Six Steps to Creating a Good Life for People with Disabilities. This will give you an idea of your assets and help you make decisions.
  2. Decide how you want your estate distributed. For example: all to spouse and when spouse dies, split among children in equal shares.Appoint an executor and alternate executor.
  3. Decide if you want to set up a discretionary trust for your family member with a disability. Ensure there is no conflict of interest and decide who will be:
    a) the trustee of the discretionary trust
    b) the beneficiary of the trust when your relative dies
  4. Be aware that the following pass outside the Will:
    – life insurance with a designated beneficiary
    – RRSPs and RRIFs with a designated beneficiary
    – assets held in joint tenancy.
  5. If you have children under 19 years of age, decide whom you will appoint as their guardian. 
  6. Take all this information to a lawyer who has experience in wills and estates for families and individuals with disabilities. Ask the lawyer to explain the tax and legal implications of your decisions. Also ask the lawyer about registering the Will with the Vital Statistics Agency, once it has been drawn up.Discuss your draft Will with your trustees.

If you would like more in-depth information from a lawyer who specializes in disability law, we currently offer a  Wills, Trusts, & Estates workshop, designed specifically for families with a loved-one with a disability.